Learn About Diskitis

What is the definition of Diskitis?

Diskitis is swelling (inflammation) and irritation of the space between the bones of the spine (intervertebral disk space).

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What are the alternative names for Diskitis?

Disk inflammation

What are the causes of Diskitis?

Diskitis is an uncommon condition. It is usually seen in children younger than 10 years and in adults around 50 years of age. Men are more affected than women.

Diskitis can be caused by an infection from bacteria or a virus. It can also be caused by inflammation, such as from autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks certain cells in the body.

Disks in the neck and low back are most commonly affected.

What are the symptoms of Diskitis?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty getting up and standing
  • Increased curvature of the back
  • Irritability
  • Low-grade fever (102°F or 38.9°C) or lower
  • Sweating at night
  • Recent flu-like symptoms
  • Refusal to sit up, stand, or walk (younger child)
  • Stiffness in back
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What are the current treatments for Diskitis?

The goal is to treat the cause of the inflammation or infection and reduce pain. Treatment may involve any of the following:

  • Antibiotics if the infection is caused by bacteria
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines if the cause is an autoimmune disease
  • Pain medicines such as NSAIDs
  • Bed rest or a brace to keep the back from moving
  • Surgery if other methods don't work
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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Diskitis?

Children with an infection should fully recover after treatment. In rare cases, chronic back pain persists.

In cases of autoimmune disease, the outcome depends on the underlying condition. These are often chronic illnesses that need long-term medical care.

What are the possible complications of Diskitis?

Complications may include:

  • Persistent back pain (rare)
  • Side effects of medicines
  • Worsening pain with numbness and weakness in your limbs
When should I contact a medical professional for Diskitis?

Call your provider if your child has back pain that does not go away, or problems with standing and walking that seem unusual for the child's age.

Skeletal spine
Intervertebral disk
What are the latest Diskitis Clinical Trials?
SPONDYL'UP : Prolonged Bed Rest Versus Early Raising in Vertebral Osteomyelitis - A Restrospective, Monocenter, Before/After Practice Change Study

Summary: Infectious vertebral osteomyelitis are infectious diseases of the vertebral bone, intervertebral disc and/ or adjacent tissue. Most of cases are due to hematogenous dissemination of pathogen but direct inoculation is an aetiology after surgery. Majority of cases concern adults after 50 years and the annual incidence ranging between 0.5 and 2.4 cases per 100 000 habitants in Europe but seems to inc...

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Comparing Gene Expression Profiles of Adults With Isolated Spinal TB to Disseminated Spinal TB Identified by 18FDG-PET/CT at Time of Diagnosis, 6-and 12-months Follow-up

Summary: Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide with approximately 10 million cases globally and 1.2 million deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest burden of TB. South Africa has one of the highest HIV and TB rates worldwide with an HIV prevalence rate in adults of 19% and a TB case notification rate of 615/100,000 in 2019. Over many years, focus has been paid to pulmonar...

What are the Latest Advances for Diskitis?
Spontaneous Cervical Epidural Abscess Caused by Serratia Marcescens.
Noncontiguous multifocal Brucella spondylodiscitis with paravertebral abscess: a case report.
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Treatment for Pyogenic Spondylodiscitis and Spinal Epidural Abscess.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: July 25, 2020
Published By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Camillo FX. Infections and tumors of the spine. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 42.

Hong DK, Gutierrez K. Diskitis. In: Long S, Prober CG, Fischer M, eds. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 78.